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How Much Water Do We Actually Need?

By: Caitlin Hicks

 

Many of us have been raised with the ideology we should aim for eight glasses of water per day. The golden standard of hydration, we're told.

 

Unfortunately, there's no scientific evidence to support the old eight a day. According to most doctors, we shouldn't drink more than our body wants and that the discomfort we feel when we drink too much is a protective mechanism. This is simply to prevent over-hydration and we should listen to our bodies when we feel that sensation.

 

While rare, when too much water is rapidly consumed, the sodium levels in the bloodstream decrease. This can cause some serious health issues, and can potentially be fatal. Over-hydration is more likely to occur during intense exercise and is seldom an issue otherwise.

 

Intense exercise aside, how much water should we aim for day-to-day? Well, this is entirely specific to every individual. Those who exercise and sweat often will crave more water than those who don’t. By eating a balanced diet high in vegetables, most of us will get between 20-40% of our daily water needs through food. But, if you notice you aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, you may want to up your water intake or start adding more water-dense foods into your diet. 

 

Going off our own thirst and satisfaction is of course the best way to judge how much we need. Everyone is different and eight glasses a day doesn't reflect the change in daily lifestyles. If you take a hot yoga class for example, you’re going to want more water naturally and your body will tell you that.

 

Another way to measure if we are staying hydrated through the day is to weigh ourselves in the morning. Our body weight shouldn't drop throughout the day if we drink enough water. The rule of thumb should be to simply drink water when you're thirsty, there's no need to overcomplicate hydration.

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